NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - New York state Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul took a trip to New Rochelle this week to speak out against sexual assaults on college campuses.
On Tuesday morning, Hochul stopped by Iona College to discuss her “Enough is Enough” legislation, which created a new, uniform sexual assault policy to protect New York’s college students when it was signed into law last year.
The initiative created a statewide definition of “affirmative consent,” defining consent as “knowing, voluntary, and a mutual decision among al participants to engage in sexual activity. It also invented a limited amnesty policy, encouraging students to report incidents by granting immunity for certain campus policy violations, such as drug and alcohol use.
“I believe we can end college sexual assault, and that starts right here in this room,” she said to more than 50 students and staff members in the Ryan Library. “(Victims) have to get to the point where they don’t feel ashamed by being the victim of sexual assault, you should be empowered to take action.”
Hochul warned that under “Enough is Enough,” the public may see an alarming spike in the number of sexual assaults reported on colleges, but that only means more victims are speaking out.
“People need to know that that if they cross the line, or go too far, they could end up imprisoned. There are severe consequences for sexual assault,” she added. “If cases go up, it just means people are reporting, we can’t worry about that. We may even see a spike, but it will eventually go down.”
Iona College President Joseph Nyre added that “we’ve all been shaken by recent sexual violence on college campuses. Prevention is critical, and intervention when needed.”
During her speech, Hochul called on Iona College students and staff to work together to help prevent sexual assaults on New York campuses.
“It starts right here in this room, because you know your campus better than a bunch of people in Albany,” she said. “It’s as simple as that. Be an upstander, not a bystander. This has to be the sustained mindset while we make these changes when it comes to ending sexual assaults on college campuses.”